Showing posts from 2009

Competitions and Opportunities

Thought I'd share some links to competitions and markets that I came across recently.

The Sunday Times are running a short story comp with a £25,000 first prize. I haven't got the zeroes wrong. £25 grand! I haven't looked at the rules yet but you can bet I will be doing so asap.

Radio 4 are looking for 1900-2000 word stories for it's Opening Lines slot at 3.30pm. Nothing sexist, racist nor any swearing. Strong emphasis on narrative avoiding too much dialogue or character description.
Submissions are by post only (so that rules out everyone in the UK at the moment) and guidelines can be found at

And a market I found recently that I think is way cool. Go to and have a look at their one-minute tales. 60 to 120 words, done on youtube video with background music. The couple I've seen so far are just wonderful and I'm dying to have a go.


The Murder Squad

I've been passed some leaflets for an event at Bebington Library.
The Murder Squad present: from Crippen to Crime Scene investigation.
A talk by Margaret Murphy and Martin Edwards at Bebington Central Library on Thursday 15th October 7.30pm - 9pm Tickets £3 (including wine) available from the library or tel. 643-7219 to reserve.
Hi Cheryl,
Just had notification that my email to you couldn't be posted as the address I have wasn't recognised. If you pick this up perhaps you can email me with your email address again.
If you are reading this post the information regarding the Wirral Bookfest is the similiar to what I put in my email to you.
Just a bit more information about the Wirral Bookfest 2009 that is running from Monday 12th October until Sunday 18th October. A mixture of daytime and evening events.
Amongst the celeb's visiting are Carol Ann Duffy at Bromborough Civic Centre on evng 12th 7.30-9pm £5 including wine. booking essential tickets from Birkenhead, Bromborough and Wallasey Central Libraries. tele 334 1650 for details.
Also on Thursday 15th Oct at 7.30-9pm at Bebington Civic Centre Crime writers Margaret Murphy and Martin Edwards are showing how they dig up the facts for their stories.
Tickets £3 including wine Booking essential contact 0151 643 7219.
On the 14th October Riverside Writers are hosting an evening of readings at West Kirby Library at 7pm-9pm Free but wine and cheese will be offered. Contact 0151 929 7808
Also that evening Greasby Poetry Group are reading their poems not all pc I believe. Join Peggy Poole and friends at Greasby Library at 7.30pm-9pm Free but contact 0151 677 5714.

Autumn Competition

Here's the theme for our Autumn competition. We found this painting on the wall at Brook Meadow in 2008. Who is she? What's she doing? What's her story? What brought her to this moment?
So tell us. Write a story in 500 words that surrounds this painting. Bring it with you to the 2nd Friday in September (I think) and we'll hear all the stories and judge them.

Vintage Radio

Time to rummage through your chest-stories again. Marion at Vintage Radio is looking for some more content for the next run of Vintage Radio programming.

I'll have more information soon, but it's likely that shows will go out in November. Marion is looking for short peices, certainly less than ten minutes, say 1500 words max, and particularly something with humour.

If it runs like last time you will get the chance to read your own story on live community radio. I certainly got a big kick from it.

I might have more by our next meeting on Friday, but I guess we'll be needing to submit our stories by early September.

Maynah Lewis Competition

This year's Maynah Lewis short story competition was for a crime story in 1600 words. We were delighted to welcome award-winning crime writer (and ex Wirral Writers member) Martin Edwards along to judge the competition and present the cup. In addition to judging the competition he also gave us a interesting insight into the life of a successful crime writer. Here's a link to his fascinating blog for more information about his writing.
So, without further ado, this year's winner: yours truly, Mike Wood.
Second place, one of our newest members, Trevor Noble
Here's the presentation And of course the timing of the competition is such that we can each enter our stories into the Writing Magazine July competition.
Here's the address: Fiona Berry Competitions Department (Crime Story) Writing Magazine Warner's Group Publications The Maltings West Street Bourne Lincs PE10 9PH
Entries to arrive by 14 A…
Hi Mike,

Looking forward to hearing about your holiday at Hay.

Loved the painting in May's issue of the ASAA Paint magazine. How lovely for Sarah to have it on the front cover.

Has Barbara informed you that Martin Edwards will be coming to our next meeting (19th June) to announce the winner of the Mayah Lewis?

Sorry if I'm messing up the numbers for Sunday Lunch, but I will not be able to go after all.


Brook Meadow 2009

This years Sunday Lunch has been provisionally booked for 1:00 pm on Sunday 28th June. More details to follow.

Back from Hay - Things in Wales

Hi - back from a hot and sweaty Hay Festival. No rain this year.
I've had an email from Dee Rivaz. It has details of quite a few writing events in North Wales so I'll post her email in full:

June/July 2009
Am driving myself (and probably everyone else) nuts with my disorganisation so this is a trial run of a monthly (or thereabouts) round robin of news items that I have to pass around the writers’ network. If you have news of interesting writing events please do let me know. And I am always looking for more writers to add into my network, it makes promoting events so much easier.

June 2nd An evening with Gillian Clark at Wrexham library 7pm tickets £4/£3. May still be tickets left, phone Hedd ap Emlyn 01978 297430

June 8th First Cross Border Poets Stanza session Theatre Clwyd 7.30 pm Workshop: responding to art (there will be specific provision for this) Followed by short meeting to discuss preferences for future events.

June 20th Launch of Lorna Jenner’s book Liverpool to Logg…

Hay Festival

Glorious sunshine, writers, readers,good veggie food… That's Hay festival this year. We're trying out a new camp site this year, only ten minutes walk from the centre of Hay but it is a haven of peace and tranquility. At the moment I'm sitting beside a stream hiding from the sun, and I've just passed the 70k mark on the novel. I'm trying to blog every day when I can get an internet connection. Catch the latest on If I can find the bandwidth I'll post a picture or two.

Maynah Lewis Competition

Don't Forget - Friday 15th May is hand-in night for all Maynah Lewis story entries. Last chance for a bit of polishing and tightening.

Crime Story

Barbara has sent me the link to Martin Edwards' blog: It's well worth a look. Martin Edwards is a popular and successful crime writer - a winner of the Crime Writers Association Dagger Award in 2008 for his short story 'The Bookbinder's Apprentice' and, for those who missed the news at the last meeting, he has kindly agreed to judge our next Maynah Lewis competition, which is a crime story in 1600 words.
Entries are due on or before our 15th May meeting.

Jon's Good News

Jon's good news had me scurrying to the Bloomsbury site and I see he will be in exalted company. J K Rowling, Khaled Hosseini, Kingsley Amis, Enid Blyton, Charlotte Bronte (the last two haven't written much lately!)
We eagerly await further news.


Good News

Sorry I haven't been around recently. I've been a bit preoccupied but it's sorted now.
The good news is, I've got a three book deal with Bloomsbury!!! Still a bit stunned!
May not be able to make it to the meeting tonight, waiting for confirmation of lift as I have sprained my foot again.
I was really looking forward to hear how the broadcasts went on and would you do it again.


Here's a link to a video that was emailed to me recently. It's a talk on creativity and inspiration by the writer, Elizabeth Gilbert.
It runs for about twenty minutes. I think it's twenty minutes well spent.

Write Minds

Here's Cheryl and Mike at the Wirral Writers table at 'Write Minds' in Ruthin.

It was a good event. We met a lot of interesting people; writers, other writing groups, educators... and we were impressed by their enthusiasm for writing and culture in general. And here's a novelty (if you're from Wirral) - they don't close libraries in Denbighshire, they promote and nurture them. There's another event on March 5th at 7.30 PM - a workshop by Caroline Ross (War Before Mine). It's at Ruthin Library and it's free! And then, the following Thursday, 12th March, there's VERSE AND VINO at
Nantclwyd y Dre House Ruthin. This one's limited to 16, so you'd need to book a place with Dee Rivaz ( if you want to go.

So, we picked up a lot of ideas to improve our pitch when we embark on our Wirral-based event. I'll explain more on Friday.

I hope some of you managed to catch either or both of the radio performances over the last two…
Congratulations to Cheryl and Barbara,
I think the presenter was more nervous than you, and there were times I thought the programme was going to disappear off air. Actually heard it via the web site as surprisingly the reception in Tranmere was dreadful on the radio.
I liked the tales that I believe I haven't heard before. Did you write them especially for the show?
I think they will have gone down well.
Just thought you may like to know of a competition being run by "The University of Liverpool Creative Writing Society for Lifelong Learning" Quite a mouth full isn't it. This is the 3rd such comp and is called "The 3rd Annual Ted Walters International Short Story and Poetry Competition 2009" Another mouthful!
The competition is so called in memory of Ted Walters who died in 2006. As a writer he had work broadcast.
I have asked for some entry forms to be forwarded so hopefully I will have them for our next meeting on the 20th feb.

Getting the creative juices flowing!

Along the Slippery Path

Not quite frozen R. Leat

You couldn't have loggerheads without a log!

After being cooped up because of bad weather, Peter and I set off for a walk this morning (just as well as it's both wet and foggy now!). We went to Loggerheads and trudged for miles through the snow. The idea was to clear the cobwebs away and hopefully put my brain in gear to tackle the rewrites on the novel.

Thought I'd share a few photos from this morning, it was peaceful and beautiful. Only trouble was, by the time we returned there wasn't time to enjoy a coffee in the new cafe there. Worth a visit if you're out that way. It's all home made/produced/organic, with no deep fat fryers any more!

This 'n that!

After so many attempts to blog with the gremlins always preventing me, I'm trying again!
It was a good meeting, I thought, on Friday with a fascinating variety of manuscripts.
We only have one more meeting before we're off to Ruthin on the 28th. If anyone would like to join us for an hour or so and help man 'our' table, please let us know! Also, if anyone has any ideas on how we should present ourselves, get in touch!
The snow is still lying in the fields and gardens here, although the roads are fine. It's all very picturesque, but I'd much rather have bright sunshine, blue skies and heat!
Oh well, back to work!

Vintage radio
Sorry I didn't have enough leaflets for everyone, but here's a recap on when it is being broadcast.
Aimed at the 50's plus and sponsored by Help the Aged it is being broadcast from Saturday 21st February until 1st March each day all day with a broad selection of programmes.
Tune into 87.7FM
Our own Ann Flynn is co-presenting a programme. (Ann has been on a course learning the ropes.) So along with Mike, Cheryl and Gordon reading their own short stories Wirral Writers will be well represented.
If you can't tune in, the programmes can be accessed by logging onto
Must say I enjoyed this evening and meeting up with everyone again. really nice to see Sarah and Joseph again after many months.
A question of age?

What happened to those winter days
what put them all to flight
remember mornings crisp and clear
that followed starry night

Can you recall those icy times
the frozen window panes
those slides we made along the lane
so many snowy games

What fun those snowball fights we had
despite frost bitten hands
in soaking woollen Christmas gloves
a present from our Gran's

How things have changed since we were young
It's not that many years
And yet it seems the world's gone mad
with PC tears and fears

No sliding in the playground lads
no ball games are allowed
in case you fall and hurt yourselves
just stand and shout out loud

And girls your screaming's much improved
gets louder by the hour
I'm fed up with the kids today
or am I getting sour?
thanks Mike I hope this message reaches the right place. I'm not at all certain that I am following the correct protocol. with a bit of luck will see you all at the next meeting.

Write Minds

Wirral Writers will have a table at the Writers’ Fair, part of the Write Minds event at Nantclwyd y Dre, Castle Street, in Ruthin, on 28th February.

The event starts at 11:00 and there will be a number of talks by writers during the day. Day-pass tickets are £5 in advance (Ruthin Library 01824 705274) or can be purchased on the day (but access to all the talks cannot be guaranteed for on-the-day purchases).

We have a couple of meetings beforehand, so please come armed with plenty of ideas for attention-grabbing hand-outs and exhibition items.

I’ll have more info for you next meeting.
Further to Frank’s quiz last night, what is a runcible spoon?
Apparently, it is an invented word. Edward Lear liked the sound of it and he loved to invent words, and used it in a number of his verses. There’s a runcible hat appearing in one of them.

But then, decades after his death, definitions began to appear in dictionaries. These days it’s often defined as kind of pickle fork with a sharpened edge and three tines, or as a grapefruit spoon.

But it’s nonsense, because when Lear invented the word (or any of his invented words) he never had any intentions of it actually meaning anything.

Anyway, as a matter of interest, here’s the full poem:


The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea In a beautiful pea green boat, They took some honey, and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five pound note. The Owl looked up to the stars above, And sang to a small guitar,'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love, What a beautiful Pussy you are, You are, What a beautiful Pussy you are!'

Pussy said to the Owl, 'You e…


Sadly, I have a chest infection at the moment so I can't make it tonight. Will bring a few treats with me for the next meeting (rather than just sharing my germs with you this time). Have a good time.

Love Elizabeth

Party Night Next Friday

Just a reminder to everyone that next Friday (16th) is our Christmas Party night. (Okay, it's a bit late, but we're all writers - we have this innate aversion to deadlines. So bring a small gift for the raffle, some food for the buffet, and be prepared for a killer quizz by yours truly. If you have a seasonal story; something for mid-January (chronic debt might be a good theme at the moment) bring it along, we'd love to hear it. Can't wait. Mike

Happy New Year

Best wishes to everyone this year and good luck with your writing!!!